The Fuji apple filling is certainly the soul of this pie. Use baking apples. The essential detail is that they may be crisp and tart, apples which can be tart and characteristic a smooth snap commonly have a tendency to have extra acidity and extra pectin, due to this that that they may preserve together better in a pie filling and taste extra apple mixed with sugar and spices.
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Granulated sugar, for filling pie shell to blind bake
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- 3 1/2 pounds tart baking apples
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch allspice
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sorghum syrup
- 1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey
- 1/2 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups whole pecans toasted
- 9-inch pie plate
- For the Crust: Whisk egg with cream, set aside. Using a large sheet of aluminum foil, press into the pie crust so it conforms to curves of plate. A second sheet of foil may be needed for full coverage. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Fill to brim with granulated sugar, transfer to a half sheet pan and bake until fully set and golden around the edges, 60 to 75 minutes, brushing crimped edge with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar after 40 minutes. Fold long sides of foil toward middle, gather short sides, and use both hands to carefully transfer sugar to heat-safe bowl. Let sugar cool to room temperature. If needed, continue baking crust a few minutes more to brown along the bottom. Let cool for 30 minutes.
Apple Filling: Peel apples partially in a spiral pattern, starting at the stem and proceeding towards the bottom, removing about half the skin while leaving a stripe of skin on each apple. Core apples and cut into 1/4-inch slices. In a large mixing bowl, toss together apple slices, lemon juice, cornstarch, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, and nutmeg until well combined. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes liquids will be released during this time, preventing a wet pie filling later.
Melt butter in a large, wide-bottomed pot and heat over medium heat; add apple mixture and any juices in the bottom of the bowl. Cook, stirring often, until apples are soft but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Allow apples to cool for 30 minutes, then scrape into pre-baked pie crust.
While apples are cooling, place granulated sugar, butter, heavy cream, corn syrup, maple syrup, bourbon, molasses, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until ingredients are fully combined, about 2 minutes. Stop stirring, turn heat to medium-high, and cook until mixture reaches 236°F (113°C) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes. Off heat, allow caramel to cool to 190°F (88°C), about 3 minutes. Mix in toasted pecans, then spoon the caramel-pecan mixture over apples, patting and shaping to form an even coating. Let pie cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes, then slice and serve.
It’s very important to use sugar to weigh down the pie crust as directed in this recipe and not pie weights or beans; this is because this crust can retract if not fully weighed down, and sugar accomplishes this better than the other options. Also make sure to fill the pie shell all the way to the very top with sugar, lest the crimped edge retract. The baked sugar is a versatile ingredient that can be saved to act as a weight for future pies and/or used in any recipe calling for granulated sugar, even if it darkens.